Sawing the Air [A Short-short Story]

Diatribe, invective, rant, tirade, polemic; no two words are completely synonymous; no two words are interchangeable in every context of use . . . usage. A forceful and bitter verbal attack, a diatribe; a long and angry speech of criticism or accusation, a tirade; to speak long and loud in a wild, impassioned manner, to rant; a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something, a polemic; and any language that is abusive, insulting, perhaps even vulgar, or highly critical, an invective . . . we can only think what we are able to think.

There is no one who could know me better than I do myself, or so I have assumed, and thus most of what I write I do so in the first person and do not devise ways in which I could wear one or another persona in my writing, as I do imagine others have, and even when the writing is in the first person, are we to assume that the writer me is exactly who is speaking here as we do like to say, especially when we use the word voice when we refer to either a narrator or an expositor, but then what else are we to say when any discussion concerns what the words on the page are doing when a reader reads the text . . . and who am I, and who is this voice heard, we now say, I say about this saying, what the author says, the narrator says, the characters say, who else says . . .

The reader also says when he reads, when I do, to read, to write, to say as I do when I speak or to say as I do when I write, or when I write to whom, when and where and how, the same for when I speak, who is the same speaker every time he speaks, am I the same speaker when I speak to my dead mother as when I speak to God, the as when I speak to my son or then to my wife or then to my supervisor or then to the Police Officer who asks me what is in my backpack in the subway, the same as when I speak to the television during a Ranger’s playoff game? I hear words in my head, sometimes I cannot help but read texts aloud, know your audience I used to try to get my students to understand–some did, many did not.

Yes, no one knows me better than I do, or so I like to think, often believe without question, have plenty to say about why I think so, how it is that it is so . . . and there is an although to raise in question without query . . . of course, there is something of me that can be known by most anyone anywhere anytime, provided the person sees when he looks, listens when he hears, or is it that he should hear when he listens. There is a listening that is other than hearing, how the latter is passive when the former is active, but then there is the understanding hearing that takes place after one has listened, no?

You know what I am trying to say here, so let’s dispense with the pretenses of misunderstanding that most of like to perpetuate when we really do not have the patience to listen to someone and want to throw the conversation off target? Is it a target we are pointed at in our discussions? Let’s say that I say here in another voice something to be said, something that should be said in the appropriate voice . . . as others who say they are saying are saying in another voice of the author and so on and so on . . . the role of narrator, the role of expositor . . . the masks we wear, when talking about Politicians and the People in America, we have to re-examine the relationship along the lines of the pimp/prostitute social dynamic. Congress has never been revealed more starkly and evidently the Money-doling Pimps of our political system than today–but every pimp has his gangster overlords, as do our politicians in the guise of the Oil or Wall Street gangsters of our bourgeois totalitarian capitalist fiefdom . . . there has to be a way to understand what we experience in our political lives . . . bourgeois cultures have collectively created an overarching, overbearing civilization that has been the enemy of art, the adversary of the spiritual life of art, while pretending, only sometimes, to be the friend of the corporeal life of artists . . . this has been unwavering, this has remained steadfast, this has achieved ascendancy in the hearts, in the minds and in the souls, if it could be said that the latter survives . . . who believes in soul anymore–do you? I know I do; I know I have taken many opportunities to talk of soul, delineate what the limits of this soul are . . . in the minds of  those who could be artists, who should be, who were, that is, until their art had been bought and sold and sold again so many times as to leave it permeated by stink of prostitution, as in all variations of bourgeois marriage, the stink of harlotry on the marriage bed, blighted . . . . and this is contradictory of the idea that we in America marry for love and only for love; so be it–but do we? As crass as we have become. The notion that we love for anything but materialism is surely a laugh; however, the fact we believe materialism is only contingent with things of the senses, articles we can buy and sell, is yet another confusion the bourgeoisie suffer in their minds, an entity they ironically have more faith in than soul . . .

Hollywood has also remained one of the foremost enemies of art; the likes of any grossly overpaid grossly overrated Hollywood actor becoming one of the foremost advocates for the integrity of Hollywood as a force for good in the world, speaks volumes. Hollywood producers have remained steadfast enemies of Truth, as has publishing become steadfast in its attention to profit before people; maintaining attention to a public that buys. These, of course, are practices in a world of diminished literacy . . . so much so that even publishing can only pander to taste, as degraded as ours has become. Does Hollywood or conglomerate owned publishing believe other than their self-perpetuated delusions of who or what the people are, no different than the political state who works toward confusing the people for a public that serves, or at least a public that buys and buys and buys . . . I sit and marvel at free enterprise and as fashion or cosmetic industries allow musical entertainers to make upwards of eighty million dollars a year, thus seriously diminishing the salaries and benefits packages of the very employees that make the products the entertainer represents, allowing the public to become enamored by her image or enthused by her spirit enough to waste more money than they can afford; all of this while my health insurance goes up, salaries freeze, hours to work shrivel and Congress stalls on health care reform . . . I dare anyone to name any of the top three to five publishers in America, especially, but anywhere in the world, and see if they are not committed to a contemptibly narrow programatic of what should be published, all in the attempt to right former wrongs, political, social, ethical–how has the new hegemony not become a reanimation of the old? I’ll never forget Oprah saying that you must believe in your own goodness and that your reward will take the form of money if you believe it will. High Priestess in the Cult of Mammon . . . all of our attempts to right former wrongs  . . . multiculturalism perpetuating its revisionist agenda in an attempt to garner the resonance of truer voices, voices more real because they are more diverse. Brown-eyed writers and blue-eyed ones we used to joke were next, but with the culture of ignorance besetting all contemporary attempts at multicultural reevaluation, I wonder what kind of multicultural world has been envisioned?

I met an educated man, college educated, somewhere in his early fifties, who could not understand why an American poet made allusions to Greek poetry or mythology in his poems, finding it pretentious. The contemporary American politically correct version of multiculturalism is horribly narrow, terribly proscribed. We tell ourselves our moves toward corrections are necessary instead of what seems to me to be the prime motive in all diversity, increasing profits by sub-dividing the market. Publishing has never been more enamored with any marketing ploy as much as they are with multiculturalism, diversity, diversity, diversity, all and only in the name of dollars. Its macroeconomics. And with enough resenters from formerly beleaguered camps, dollars are right enough. Did we expect a bourgeois capitalist populist society to envision literary truth any other way? Is it different because the authors are women or persons of color or post-colonial, all of these the new status quo? The bourgeoisie must kill its artists for two reasons: it increases the market value of the art, and in selling the art it does not have to pay the artist; someone else gets rich.

What then must we do? Can I do? Bear with we brother Luca. I have come from the kingdom of discord . . . who am I now, what resonance does this voice carry? We imagine that Jeremiads are too old and out of touch with our contemporaneity to be of any value . . . don’t we? We read the Prophets of Israel as if there were something quaint about what they say, how they speak, or, at best, how we might see something parallel with our time in the time they speak, as if something like transubstantiation were a childish superstition that can be resolved in metaphors we cling to out of vanity and hope–we do Protest too much.





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